By Linda Parker
The cold nights mean that I don’t feel guilty about settling down to watch a seemingly never-ending stream of TV food programmes. My current favourite has been the new series Nigel & Adam’s Farm Kitchen (BBC1, which started back in November).
I feel as if I’m jumping ahead of myself again, but the 4th December episode gave me a couple of great ideas for using up the post-Christmas day turkey and chicken. Turkey isn’t my favourite for Xmas lunch, but I’m tempted to go for it this year because I really fancy the thought of making the Spiced Chicken Parcel but with the turkey left-overs instead! Nigel Slater’s inspiration for this dish came from a Greek version, where the chicken, dill and spices were added to fine sheets of pastry lining a frying pan. Whether you cook a hob-top frying pan version or the rather more staid and serious baking tin/oven version, it’s got to be one of the best ways to get rid of the leftovers!
For more festive food, I highly recommend that Instagrammers follow Jamie Oliver on Instagram, – simply search for ‘jamieoliver’ on Instagram. They put up a daily recipe and the selection of Christmas suggestions is hotting up at the moment – today’s suggestion was a vegetarian (it’s #meatfreemonday ) Warm Winter Salad with radicchio, wild rocket and feta – which sounds superbly healthy and just the thing to have for supper before we get down to the serious business of Christmas lunches, parties and dinners ….
I’m working up to experimenting with a SousVide soon … I was inspired by a dish on MasterChef: The Professionals, and decided I had to try this method of cooking for myself. In a nutshell, the meat or fish is vacuum sealed in a pouch and gently cooked in a water bath, for up to four hours; it’s a method often used in top restaurants, and ensures perfect, tender results. Find more info about the Sous Vide we’re testing at www.sousvidesupreme.com.
I’m sure my grandma, who used to cook with a pressure cooker (oh, the excitement when it ‘blew’ and the ceiling was decorated with chicken soup …) would have embraced Sous Vide cooking; I think it might just be the best thing since sliced bread, although unfortunately the price is a little daunting – from around £250, but with some of the best quality processors pitching in at £300 plus, perhaps it’s a worthwhile investment.
At the other end of the spectrum, a modest investment in some new BioChef utensils has cheered me up, these eco-friendly tools are beautifully comfortable to use, easy to keep clean, and look good too, find them here.
Back in July, whilst visiting some of the pre-season Christmas shows, it was interesting to see lots of sound-systems aimed at kitchen use, and I am now extremely tempted to put one on my Christmas wish-list.
The Jongo multiroom system from Pure (the lovely digital radio people) makes it so beautifully simple to listen to music from their smartphone, tablet, PC or Mac – so there is no need to have a whole nest of wires trailing over work surfaces, simply choose one of the curvy, colourful speakers, put it into position, set up the Pure Connect app and enjoy music whilst you cook. For an overview of the system, visit pure.com
And whilst you’re setting things up, take a look and have a listen to my favourite musicians of the moment, Ben Parker (no relation, honestly …) and Kate Aumonier, who make up Chains – they are singing the 12 Days of Christmas at the moment, with a fabulous selection of seasonal songs to get you dancing in the kitchen whilst peeling sprouts.
I think I love All I Want for Christmas best, but see all their songs here and keep an eye on their Facebook page for news of gigs and new songs! Linda Linda Parker (Food Fan and Freelance interiors journalist)